Calvin DeLeavey

Fibre optic internet service coming to Amherstburg


By Ron Giofu


Internet speeds in Amherstburg should be getting a lot faster within the next few years.

Bell Canada will be investing millions into bringing fibre optic Internet to town with construction to begin as soon as the second quarter of 2018. Calvin DeLeavey, senior manager of Bell Canada’s “Fibre to the Home” (FTTH), said they are planning to invest “north of $12 million” into bringing FTTH to every home in Amherstburg.

DeLeavey pledged it will be privately funded by Bell and not require financial investment by the town, though the town will work with Bell to expedite the process, streamline the permit system and let work begin as soon as possible.

“It’s fibre optic all the way to the home,” said DeLeavey. “It will deliver speeds that are unparalleled. Fibre is still the best technology out there today. It really is a network of the future. As we update electronically, it will continue to remain unparalleled.”

DeLeavey said it is possible to connect all homes in Amherstburg to the high speed system in an 18-24 month time frame.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was all smiles during and after the meeting when talking about the subject, saying it’s “huge” for Amherstburg. He said he now can tell potential developers their communications concerns will be a thing of the past.

DiCarlo said he knows of people wanting to build $1 million homes in town but backed off due to a lack of reliable high speed Internet. He believed it is a lot better option than the SWIFT initiative that has been discussed at the Essex County council table.

Aaron Kovacs from Bell Canada, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Bell Canada senior manager Calvin DeLeavey were all smiles after DeLeavey announced Bell Canada is bringing fibre optic internet service to Amherstburg.

“It’s a far cry from being swift as that’s 20-30 years away and not to the home,” said DiCarlo.

The mayor said they have been working on the issue for the last several months with Bell and that the town is “excited to be working with Bell.” He said there may be some hurdles in rolling it out in terms of having to do core drilling in some areas, but was confident Bell will meet their timetables. While work will start in the core area, he said it will spread out and the town will bring “fibre to the farm.”

“By 2020, the whole town will have access to high speed Internet,” said DiCarlo. “That’s huge for us.”

Noting he has been fielding several complaints from residents the last few weeks, DiCarlo admitted frustration at having to wait to tell them about the plan.

“This is essential,” he said. “This issue isn’t about just watching videos and movies. Communication is it. This is a key driver for us. Let’s bring business to Amherstburg.”

Councillor Jason Lavigne said the announcement shows the residents that their concerns have been taken seriously and addressed.

“It’s going to be a big thing for Amherstburg,” said Lavigne. “This is going to be an opportunity for everyone in Amherstburg whether you live on a concession or in the core.”

Councillor Rick Fryer also agreed it could bring business into Amherstburg, and even remarked that large companies like Amazon could find Amherstburg a “perfect” place for smaller hubs. Councillor Diane Pouget wanted to know if it would be a costly service and DeLeavey said Bell “has to be competitive in the marketplace.”

DeLeavey emphasized that the project “is on Bell’s dime, for sure.”

“It is welcome in the town and a great enhancement for the community,” stated Councillor Leo Meloche.

“It’s great news for our town,” agreed Councillor Joan Courtney.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale said there have been previous attempts at such a project that didn’t come to fruition and encouraged Bell to “keep up the good work.”

DiCarlo added that the town had been looking at doing the work themselves when they started talking with Bell Canada. He said the new agreement allows for high speed Internet in a quicker time frame.

“We are very happy to be working with them,” said DiCarlo.